The Check List

In the last article called Picking a Rental House, I wrote about why we chose the house we did. In this post, I want to talk a little bit about the process of actually buying the house. I don’t know very much yet, but I’ll share a little bit of what I do.

In the end, this is going to be a good property for us if we’re able to rent it out, and keep it rented. That means I need to be able to do a couple of things:

  1. Find renters. I’m going to do so with a variety of on-line services, some word of mouth by us and the previous owner, and possibly a little bit through some real estate management.
  2. Keep them happy. We want to charge a fair price, and we want repeat customers. That means we’re going to bend over backwards to keep our renters happy. The previous owners did an excellent job of this.
  3. Keep the smoothest possible transition between the owners. We don’t want the water, or the power for that matter, to run out in the middle of the long, luxurious shower in the middle of the peak rental season, now, do we?
  4. Satisfy our partners. We need to keep some people happy, including the bank that actually thought it was a good idea to loan us money; the contractors that will make those repairs that showed up in the inspection, and the previous owners who can help us, but are not obligated to.

That means I needed…

a list.

I’m not the most organized person in the world, unless I have to be. But my wife is fantastic in that regard. On the way to the Texas coast, we broke out the iPhone and started writing. Slowly. With my fat, old fingers.

The Money Man

We started with the things that the mortgage company needed. Fortunately, our good credit scores and excellent bank (thanks, Amplify) made the process pretty easy, and they kept our checklists for us, and on line. We were able to sign and deliver most of the documents on line, and we dutifully packed up the documents and the kids to deliver the rest. I have to say it was the smoothest process to date that I’ve ever gone through. So this part of the list was mercifully short.

Honey Dos

Next, we focused on the short-term fixes we would need to make to the house. We set a goal of things that needed to happen pre-close and those that could wait until after. We wanted to handle all of the moisture related issues and anything electrical quickly. Also, a few safety issues turned up, and we decided to do a few of those things as well. Finally, there were some issues that probably weren’t a big deal, but we wanted to handle them.

Things like keyless entry. You can get a Kwikset combination lock for a hundred bucks or so at Home Depot, and that makes the management process simpler and more secure, because you can have the code changed when your guests leave, and nobody has to handle a key. And new smoke detectors, or batteries where they are needed. Codes change, and we wanted to keep up.


We also made a list of utilities we needed, and built a schedule. We wanted to make sure that they happened uninterrupted. I’ll let you know how that goes. Truth be told, we may have started a little late.

Especially wireless. I mean, today’s customer can live without food and water for 48 hours, but take away wireless, and you’re in a world of hurt.


The previous owners did an outstanding job of furnishing the place and keeping it nice. Still, we had a vision of adding a few things to the house, like beach gear, that would make the stay much more pleasurable. We have our list, and we’ll work on starting to accumulate some of the stuff. We want to add a big new wagon for lugging stuff to the beach, and also a few things to the kitchen that we will like to have when we are in town. Each new owner will want to put their own new stamp on the place.

In the next article, I will talk a little bit about the final rush to the close. I hope you’re enjoying the experience.


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